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Aamla (Indian gooseberry)     (Page 1)


  Common Name
  Aamla in Worship
  Aamla Plant
  Chemical Constituents
  Aamla  as Medicinal Herb
  Other uses of Aamla
  Food value in Aamla
  Aamla Side Effects
  Modern Research


      Aamla fruit

   The Aamla or Neelikkai (Phyllanthus Embilca) is also called Amalka in Hindi. In Sanskrit its name is Amalaki, which translates as ‘the sustainer’ or ‘the fruit where the goddess of prosperity presides’. The English term for Aamla is Indian gooseberry. It is a small tree with leathery leaves and a fleshy fruit. Amla is one of the richest natural sources of vitamin C, its fresh juice containing nearly twenty times as much vitamin C as orange juice. A single tiny Amla is equivalent in vitamin C content to two oranges. Clinical tests on patients suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis have shown that this high concentrate is more quickly assimilated then the synthetic vitamin.

   It is an ingredient of many Ayurvedic medicines and tonics, as it removes excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, giddiness, spermatorrhoea, internal body heat and menstrual disorders. Because it is also cooling, it increases sattwa, and is an excellent liver tonic. The Ayrvedic text Bhav-Prakash describe the Aamla or Amallki as:

   हन्ति वांत तदम्लत्वात् पित्तं माधुर्यशैत्यतः |
 कफं रुक्षकषायत्वात् फलं धात्र्यारित्रदोषजित् ||

   According to Ayurveda, Amla fruit is sour and astringent (kashaya) in taste (rasa), with sweet (madhura), bitter (tikta) and pungent (katu) .Its qualities (gunas) are light (laghu) and dry (ruksha), the postdigestive effect (vipaka) is sweet (madhura), and its energy (virya) is cooling (shita).
  It is also a very important ingredient in the famous Chyavanaprash, and a constituent of Triphala (three fruits) powder. The Amla fruit is considered to be so nourishing that the tree has been worshipped in India from ancient times as the ‘Earth Mother’, and is said to be nursing humankind. 
  In Chinese traditional therapy, Amla fruit is called Yuganzi ( 余甘子 ] , which is used to cure throat inflammation.

  Common Name

 English -        Indian  Gooseberry , Emblic Myrobalam
 Latin  -           Phyllanthus emblica, Emblica offcinalis Gaerte
 Family:          Phyllanthaceae
 Sanskrit -      Amalki, Dhatri, amalika (अम्लिका)
 Hindi -           Aamla (आँवला)
Gujarati -        Aamla (આમળા)
Punjabi  -        Olay
Assamese   -  Amlakhi
Odiya   -         Aanla (ଅଁଳା‎‎)
Tamil    -         Nellikkai (நெல்லிக்காய்)
Kannada -       Nellikkaai (ಗುಡ್ದದ ನೆಲ್ಲಿ)
Telugu       -    Usiri (ఉసిరి కాయ) (or Usirikai )
Malayalam-    Nellikka (നെല്ലിക്ക)  
Marathi    -     Aavalaa (आवळा)
Bangla     -     Amloki (আমলকী)
Chinese  -      Anmole  ( 庵摩勒 )
Nepali     -      Amala  (अमला)
Myanmar-      zee phyu thee
Thai         -     Ma kham pom  (มะขามป้อม)
Sinhala   -      Nelli
Urdu              Aavnlaa  (awla)   اردو

  Aamla in Worship

   Hindu scriptures provide some general guidelines for the use of plants in worship. Goddess Laxmi (महा लक्ष्मी), who is especially associated with this tree, is worshipped with its leaves, especially in the month of Marga Shirsha (November/ December). Some trees are believed to have originated from bodies or limbs of Gods. The Peepul, or Bo-tree, was born from the body of Lord Vishnu. Palas, Flame of the forest, was born from the body of Brahma.

  Amla (Emblic myrobalan) rose from tears of Brahma and the Rudraksha (Blue marble tree) grew from tears shed by Lord Shiva (शिव)

   According to a Tamil legend, Avvaiyar Tamil (ஔவையார்), a female poet, ethicist and political activist of the Sangam period was gifted by one amla to her by King Athiyaman which will give her a long life.

  Aamla Plant

   A small to medium sized deciduous tree, 8-18m. in height with crooked trunk and spreading branches. Leaves simple, sub sessile; flower greenish-yellow; fruit nearly spherical pale yellow with 6 vertical furrows.

  Chemical Constituents

   To investigate the chemical constituents of Tibetan medicine Phyllanthus emblica ( amla ). RESULT: 11 compounds were isolated in amla and identified as gallic acid (I), ellagic acid (II), 1-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose (III),  3,6-di-O-galloyl-D-glucose (IV), chebulinic acid (V), quercetin (VI), chebulagic



   Amla can be grown in light as well as heavy soils except purely sandy soil. Calcareous soil with rocky substratum can also be good. However, well drained fertile loamy soil is the best for higher yield. The plant have capacity for adaptation to dry regions and can also grow in moderately alkaline soils. It is grown extensively under tropical condition. Annual rainfall of 630-800 mm have given good yield. The young plants up to the age of 3 years should be protected from hot wind during May-June and from frost during winter months. The mature plants can tolerate freezing temperature as well as temperature up to 460C.


  Amla is generally propagated through seeds, but seed propagated trees bear inferior quality fruits and have a long gestation period. Shield budding is done on one year old seedlings with buds collected from superior strains yielding big size fruits. Older trees of inferior types can be rejuvenated and easily changed into superior type by top working.

  The pits of 1m3 are prepared during May-June at a distance of 4.5 m spacing and should be left for 15-20 days exposed to sunlight. Each pit should be filled with surface soil mixed with 15 kg farm yard manure and one kg of super phosphate before planting the grafted seedling.

   THINNING AND WEEDING: Weeding & Hoeing is required in nursery.


   The medicinal plants have to be grown without chemical fertilizers and use of pesticides. Organic manures like, Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, Green Manure etc. may be used as per requirement of the species. To prevent diseases, bio-pesticides could be prepared from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow's urine etc. Biofertilizers such as Azotobacter, phosphobacterium and Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) boost the plant growth.


   Amla plants hardly require irrigation during monsoon. Young plants require watering during summer months at 15 days interval till they have fully established. Watering of mature fruit bearing plants is advised during summer months at bi-weekly intervals to increase fruit set and to reduce fruit drop. It responds very well to drip irrigation. After the monsoon rains, during October-December about 25-30 litres of water per day per tree through drips should be given.


   Aamla seedlings start bearing fruits in 7-8 years after planting, while the budded clones will start bearing fruits from the 5th year onwards. The fruits are light green at first, but when they mature become dull greenish yellow. Best harvesting time of Amla fruits is February when the fruits have maximum ascorbic acid content. In South India, fruits are found throughout the year. The mature fruits are hard and they do not fall for gentle touch and therefore vigorous shaking is required. For getting attractive prices fruits after harvest should be made into different grades depending on the size. Fruits can also be harvested using long bamboo poles attached with hooks.


   A matured tree of about 10 years will yield 50-70 kg of fruit. The average weight of the fruits is 60-70 g. One kg contains about 1`5-20 number of fruits. A well maintained tree will be yielding up to an age of 70 years. The yield increases year by year up to 50 years.

  Dry Amla

  Amla dry fruits

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